Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Flag of the Free

One thing that always amazes me when I am in the US is the omnipresence of the American Flag. In Germany it had until recently not been very popular to be sporting the flag, and although it is slowly changing, especially in the context of sports events (i.e. soccer) people still don't fly the flag in front of their house. Add to that speaking with Kathy Loomis about what brought her to start working on her fantastic flag quilts that I got to see when visiting with her recently. And suddenly I began to notice variations of American flags as well. Not only the huge ones flying in front of official buildings and besides highway exits.

Percey Lam: Journey, HI (in Form, not Function)

sorry - did not take the maker's name...seen at Kentucky State Fair

And I didn't even take a picture of every variation that I saw. Perhaps I should have. Next time...

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Returning home after 4 weeks

I have been away from home for four weeks, with the exception of a less-than-24-hrs stopover between coming back from the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham and leaving for our trip to the USA .
I saw many quilts in Birmingham, and a few in the USA, but I myself have not done a whole lot of stitching in these weeks. I did knit several pairs of socks. 

And although I had taken a bit of hand-stitching, and I did do a little bit,

mostly it was a period of resting from stitching. Jeanne set me to work on a couple of blocks for the 70,273-project when I was at her house, and if our stay there had not been cut short due to the emergency in her family I might have made a few more in that evening we did not have. But I couldn't.

two blocks I made while chatting with Jeanne
and hoping my son would fall asleep...

My son is at an age right now where he has very little tolerance for Mom taking him tagging along to quilt shows. He was about two and a half years old when I took him to a show in my then function as a regional representative for the German Quilt Guild, and he walked into the display hall, stopped shortly after having gone in about five meters, took a thorough look around, and said to me, „Mom, we can go!“ And he was right about the quality of work we got to see there, I have to admit... but that's is a reason why I don't like to drag him through any of this if I can help it. So I did not go into a quilt show in Knoxville that had opened on the weekend we were there. Nor did I follow any of the quilt trails that I had found flyers for in visitors centers in several of the visitor centers. There were several!
I did talk quilt with Kathy, a little bit, and Debbie, who was not a quilter when we were colleagues in Augsburg twenty years ago but has since become one, took me to the one and only quilt shop I visited during the entire trip, Stitcher's Garden in Nashville.

"Stitchers Garden" - an overwhelming experience. More pictures here.

Jeanne of course talked to me about the 70,273-project, but it has really been a time of distance from quilting.

Looking at some of the finished quilts
for the 70,273-project

So this will be making a new start. I have had thoughts about new projects, I have taken a few notes. And I will get started on them as I find time.
However, the new school year is about to begin,  I am supposed to be teaching again – unless some major changes occurred while I was away and perhaps the new class will not get off the ground? We will see.
Last year's students from Senegal did not get their work permit, which has really upset me terribly and calls for further action in the realm of civil activism, protest, whatever, and I have to figure out how I will position myself to this. That is - they have not been given a permit, but they have also not received a notification that it has been turned down. This means they could not start on the beginning of September, which would have been the first day of school for them, and that means they will not be able to join in on the course any more because no late admittances are allowed. That is a very subtle and petty method of denying them access to education and training. Because they have not been rejected, they cannot protest or sue against it, but also cannot continue.
I kept pretty calm about this all while we were away – except when talking about it to somebody. The way a conversation about this usually would bring me onto the edge of tears shows me how deeply I am involved in that issue. And somehow it feels as if I can only put that to rest when a signifacant change in Bavarian politics has occurred. The fight is not over yet.
However, I will try not get as involved with the new year's students again. I don't have enough strength for that left. I will only be their German teacher.

Monday, August 28, 2017

America's produce

I love markets and vegetable stalls, and one of the pains of traveling is that I can't take advantage of all those wonderful food opportunities along the way as I don't have a kitchen to cook the stuff in that I get to see...

Monday, August 21, 2017

Traveling on

Meanwhile, my son and I have moved on in our travels of the land of the free.

Kathy took us to pick up our rented car on Saturday morning, and then we hit the road toward the South.

We had a reservation for a tour of Mammoth Cave.

We have had some wonderful impressions in supermarkets.

Today we went canoeing on Harpeth River and had a wonderful time.

And tomorrow we are looking forward to the big event... the solar eclipse.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

From NEC to KEC...

Last week I spent a few days in Birmingham at the Festival of Quilts but never had enough time to write about what was going on. I had a lovely time there, meeting many people, saw some wonderful quilts, although I did not get to go through the rows with the competition quilts at all, and then a long an interesting meeting of the EQA International Reps on Saturday.
Sunday morning I left Birmingham on a very early flight after having slept rather badly. I guess I don't travel as easily any more as I used to, certainly early morning departures seem to be a bit of a problem. Don't know whether I am afraid I might not wake up on time, or whether this time it was the special arrangement of getting back in the afternoon of one day and leaving for the States on the next morning... I used to be able to do things like that. The most extreme arrangement I had was when I spent the Millenium in New Zealand – remember the discussions whether computers would be able to change over into the new century without any problems? - and I did not know whether I would be able to get back to Europe at all. But I had to teach on January 1, at a quarter past two in the afternoon. And my plane landed in Munich around noon. Of course, they had lost my luggage and it had to be delivered to my home because I had to go to the university... I had deposited clothes in my office and went directly to the university from the station and only had minor problems keeping my eyes open during the class before I could go home (to a very cold apartment). I wouldn't have minded at all if the computer problem had actually happened and I could have stayed in New Zealand, but it didn't happen. In any case, that's many years ago and after this recent experience I have realized that I won't make such tight arrangements any more.
So on Sunday morning the airport in Birmingham was very busy and the line for security check seemed to go on forever. But it was nice to be walking around the piano which is standing in the middle of the hall, waiting to be played. That's when I regret that my piano playing is very much tied to sheet music. It would have been nice to just sit down and play.

At home I repacked my bags, took my child and left again the next morning. I had been a bit late with entering our ESTA-application, so lived through a scary moment at the airport when the employee almost would not let us check-in. But everything went well, we got on the plane and had a quiet flight. We flew through Philadelphia where we had another long and exhausting amount of security checks that seemed to go on forever and then another two hours of waiting for our connecting flight. 

So we were very tired upon arrival but have been enjoying ourselves in Louisville, KY since.
We have walked across the pedestrian bridge that used to be a railroad bridge and crosses the Ohio River into Indiana. 

We have had American style ice cream, seen a basketball and a baseball game, 

and today we went to the Kentucky State Fair. 

And it has started to rain a bit.

Everything is bigger in the USA...